Vickie Choitz, M.P.P.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in political Science and secondary education (May 1998)
Master of Public Policy from Harvard University
McNair Project: Wasting America's Future (1996)
Mentor: Linda P. Thurston, Ph.D.
An estimated 20% of America's children live in poverty. The impact of child poverty on the American economy is difficult to measure. However, in 1994, the Children's Defense Fund used four methods of calculation to estimate that each year 14.6 million children grow up in poverty thus reducing their future lifetime economic output by between $36.0 billion and $176.9 billion (Wasting America's Future). Using revised and updated values of the estimated lifetime earnings of a child who grows up in poverty, the author updated the estimates of the first two methods. Using the updated figures, method one presented a reduction in the future lifetime economic output of $30.0 billion. Method two yielded a reduction of $77.9 billion. Although these updated estimates are lower than the original estimates, they are more accurate with the revisions to estimates of educational level. It is still apparent that child poverty in the United States does reduce our economic productivity, and that effects all of us.